Uruguay's Lugano draws on spirit and history

Uruguay defender Diego Lugano has paid tribute the strength of character his team-mates showed in securing a FIFA World Cup berth.

Oscar Tabarez’s experienced side made a storming star to their CONMEBOL qualification campaign but a six-game winless run in the middle of the marathon section meant they needed an intercontinental play-off victory over Qatar to secure a place in Brazil.

The last time their South American neighbours hosted the tournament in 1950, Uruguay emerged victorious thanks to victory over Brazil in a stunned Maracana.

And Lugano took to Twitter to reference that triumph amid a stirring address.

In a series of posts on Thursday, the West Brom defender said: "Brazil 2014 World Cup begins today. Our really tough moment would have defeated many others but we turned it round with character and strength

"It's a characteristic of Uruguayan football that we rise from the ashes. In the toughest moment, we became even more united.

"The only World Cup that was played in Brazil was won by Uruguay and so the history, the legend, made it an obligation for us to be here."

Uruguay begin their Group D campaign against Costa Rica in Fortaleza on Saturday before potentially decisive clashes with England and Italy.